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Vol 2, Issue 1                               SPRING 2003

Index ||| Welcome ||| Mailbag ||| About the Editors ||| Collecting News ||| Profile of a Collector ||| Profile of an Artist ||| Doll in the Spotlight! ||| Doll Care Basics ||| Resources ||| FAQ ||| Closing Words

by Debbie Garrett





In these pictures, which doll is recreated and which one is the original?





It is true! The extremely rare, quite popular 1960s doll that moved like a real baby with the turn of the knob in her back, has returned! Her name is Thumbelina®.

The original doll was on the market in the early 1960s and very few dark skinned versions were made. Those that were made sold out almost immediately. For whatever reason, the original manufacturer of the doll, Ideal Toy Corp., failed to supply the demand for the dark-skinned version. It is for this reason that when the dark-skinned, 20-inch Thumbelina® dolls are found today, they sell for over $1000.00! Yes, over one-thousand dollars!

As a child, I owned the 20-inch, white version of the doll. As an adult, Black-doll collector, I was told that a Black version was made, but I had no proof. It was not until a few years ago that I stumbled upon an online auction for a mint-in-box, dark-skinned Thumbelina®. I could not believe it, but it was true. Ideal actually made the dark-skinned version. Why, oh why, did I not own an original dark-skinned version as a child; and why, oh why, could I not afford to pay $1000 for one today (without robbing Peter to pay Paul)?

In approximately the year 2000 or 2001, the Ashton-Drake Galleries reproduced the 14-inch, white Tiny Thumbelina®. The original reproduction doll was made of a Lumisin™ resin material to replicate the original vinyl used for the doll. The 20-inch, white version, made of vinyl, was reproduced in 2002. At this time, many collectors of Black dolls wanted to know: Why the Black version had not been reproduced? Would one be made; and if so, WHEN? For approximately three years these questions went unanswered.

Recently, rumors of a dark-skinned version began to circulate. These rumors prompted this writer to telephone the Ashton-Drake Galleries to find out if the dark skinned version was actually being reproduced. The answer was affirmative! The doll is, in fact, being reproduced at a cost of $109.97 plus $9.98 shipping and handling. The option of five monthly installments of $19.99 (plus a small portion of the S&H fee) is available. I placed an immediate preorder and am eagerly awaiting the arrival of the doll that I should have owned 40-some-odd years ago. I am sure that dark-skinned Thumbelina® will bring back fond memories of the little brown-skinned girl who used to mother the same doll of a different color.

For those of you who also owned the 9-inch Newborn Thumbelina® in the late 1960s-early 1970s, Ashton-Drake Galleries has reproduced that doll, but in the white version only. Because a Black version of that doll was also made, Ashton-Drake Galleries needs to reproduce both versions of Newborn Thumbelina® as soon as possible. It may have taken a letter and email-writing campaign for the 20-inch, dark-skinned Thumbelina® to become a reality. So please get those e-mails off to the Ashton-Drake Galleries and urge them to reproduce the dark-skinned version of the 9-inch Newborn Thumbelina®. Let them know that collectors of Black dolls also desire to own reproductions of the dolls they cherished as children.

In the meantime, let us all celebrate the return of the 20-inch, vinyl, dark-skinned Thumbelina®, because she’s back!


The original Thumbelina® is the doll pictured top left. All other illustrations are of the reproduction doll.

To contact Ashton-Drake Galleries, see our Resources page.